“The thing that impacts me about Jones writing style is that he can describe what went on in the past, what's going on now and what will be in the future in one fluid sentence. And yet it's totally comprehensible. 'The Known world' deserves a place on my shelf for the simple reason I've not read anything like it. Jones is such an individual-very unique 'voice'. His other book of short stories 'All Aunt Hagar's children' is a classic in the making too. Much kudos.”Blestchica81 wrote this review Sunday, June 17, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Helped shape my perspective of the south and slavery.An engrossing read.”bluebird wrote this review Friday, June 1, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An interesting look at a little known slice of American history during which blacks had black slaves.
“A beautifully written novel that takes a small part of the world in a specific period of time and creates “the known world.” The novel is non-linear and covers a number of different stories and characters, weaving in and out of each other. To say it is about black slave owners is simplistic as this is only part of life in Manchester County. Jones has a beautiful writing style which drew me in and held my attention throughout the book. The strongest aspect, I felt, was his ability to create an instant sense of intimacy with the many characters – he described their backgrounds and thoughts in such a way that you immediately identified with them. I was sad when I finished this book as I felt I was leaving a world and characters I had come to know inside out. ”Ashley78 wrote this review Wednesday, February 28, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This was a hard book to read. It's a novel written in the style of a historical account about a group of slaves, white slave owners, and free black people in Virginia just before the Civil War. I found it painfully honest and explicit about the horrors of slavery, including some rarely-discussed practices such as free blacks buying their own slaves, and free blacks being kidnapped and sold back into slavery.
I believe the title refers to the small area that contains all the characters and action of the book - a few plantations and their slave quarters in one county. Though the geographic area may be small, the depth of feeling and the effect on the reader are enormous.